No, we're not psychic. Nor have we invested in a time machine.
I spent my summer vacation at home in Chicago and saw Elvis Costello's current tour with his new band, the Rude 5. All the better to preview this weekend's show at the Universal Amphitheatre.
If you are not currently an Elvis Costello fan, this concert will convert you. His set contains enough music from his most recent album, Spike, to make new fans comfortable. It also holds enough early Costello material to please long-time fans.
Curiously, Costello neglects the middle phase of his career, yet it's hardly noticeable at the time, thanks to Costello's enormous energy. The only break he takes is at the end of the concert.
As advertised, he plays both with his backing band and solo. When the band exits halfway through the concert, Costello stays on with only an acoustic guitar and plays still more songs before the band returns.
These include a new song he says he "didn't write with Mr. McCartney." McCartney and Costello recently collaborated on a pair of songs for the Spike album and four songs for McCartney's Flowers in the Dirt.
Costello opens with "Accidents Will Happen" and ends with "Pump It Up." Expect some surprises in between. At times, Costello plays stand-up comic, deadpanning when all the lights are out. "This reminds me of my first date," he said. "Nothing happened then either."
He also uses his time to discuss politics, religion, and the environment, with anger often showing through the humor.
The centerpiece of the show is "God's Comic" from Spike, a song in which Costello vividly describes Heaven for us, hypnotizing the audience into seeing it as clearly as he does.
If you do go to see the show, it helps to bring a "significant other." Costello's songs of love and longing, including "I Want You," "Poisoned Rose," and "Alison" among many others, should not be experienced alone.
This is not a dance-and-scream concert, but a meandering tour through Costello's life and career.
But don't forget that Elvis Costello is a man of surprises, as much a rocker as a balladeer. After it's all over, you will remember everything, the comic and the contemplative, the pain and the laughter. That is what Elvis Costello is all about.